Guidelines for Medical Clinics in Flood Affected Areas

I stumbled across this briliant document prepared by Dr. Shehla Baqi and her associates, they been doing outstanding flood relief in the region from the start and have drafted this document which can truly serve as a survival guide to managing and running a medical camp in the flood affected region of Pakistan.  I must thank the Dr. Shahla, the Infections disease society of Pakistan and the various co-authors for taking the time to prepare this amazing document and be willing to share it publicly for the greater good. The original document in DOC, PDF & TXT format can be downloaded from Scribd under a Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial license


Dr. Shehla Baqi
Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases
Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation

with Recommendations for Immediate Management of Infectious Diseases in Flood Ravaged Areas by The Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan

Assess the Situation

  • Conduct an initial survey to see whether the area is not already served by another medical team in order to avoid duplication of services and waste of resources.
  • Co-ordination with local authorities may help to direct the medical team to underserved areas.
  • If the population to be served is mostly concentrated in one location within 1 kilometer radius, a stationary clinic will be most effective.
  • If the population to be served is scattered over wide areas, then it is best to have a centrally located stationary clinic with mobile medical teams dispatched from the central clinic on a daily basis.

Establishing a Medical Team

If you estimate a daily patient load of 500 in a 12 hour day, you will need the following minimum staff for the stationary clinic and the same number for the mobile clinic. (This number of patients seems high for one day, but many of the diseases are skin conditions which require only a spot diagnosis.)

  • 3 doctors
  • 1 pharmacist and 1 pharmacy helper.  If there is no pharmacist available, and only a dispenser or medical store keeper without formal training in pharmacy, then a fourth doctor will be required to avoid medication errors.
  • 1 nurse to take vital signs and weight and maintain IVs, dressings etc
  • 1-2 non-medical volunteers who can be employed to document patient data, conduct rapid surveys, language interpretation, help pharmacist etc.
  • One of the 3 or 4 doctors, preferably with the most experience, should be appointed as the Team Leader.


The members of the team should meet before they are to leave for the affected areas for orientation.  Orientation for the new team should be the responsibility of and conducted by a Team Leader who has already served in the camps and will comprise of the following:

  • Introduction where all team members get to know each other.  This has been shown to greatly improve the efficiency and working of the team.
  • Designate the team leaders.
  • Describe the medical conditions most frequently encountered and their treatment.  The most common conditions seen are as follows:
    • Anemia, even in males
    • Conjunctivitis, probably of viral etiology.
    • Diarrhoea, mostly watery and non-bloody.
    • Dehydration
    • Epigastric pain in the older patients.
    • Febrile illness which could be malaria, typhoid or dengue.
    • Malaria is mostly vivax.
    • Malnutrition, often severe
    • Pregnancy.  Expect about 3 pregnant patients for every 100 that you see.
    • Skin conditions such as scabies, tinea corporis, tinea capitis, lichen planus, eczema, lice infestation, folliculitis and furunculosis.
    • Upper respiratory infection.
    • Lower respiratory tract infection is less frequent.
    • Less commonly, you may get a case of asthma, or pick up a case of uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes mellitus. Coughing patient may have TB or be a known case of TB.
  • Revise doses of medications that should be used with emphasis on pediatric dosing ( see drug chart)
  • Familiarize the team with the various brands of drugs and dosages that are on the formulary. A sample of the drugs should be displayed at every orientation.
  • Review policies that are being followed regarding dispensing of medications and duration of treatment.

Duration of treatment in emergency situations should be the minimum effective for the condition. Courses for greater than 1 week, in general, are not practical and can lead to wastage of medications.

  • Discuss policies regarding treating patients that are not from the flood affected areas that may present to the clinic.

Essentially, no patient should be turned away.

  • Discuss policies regarding dispensing of food items and water in addition to medications.

Food items should not be distributed since the focus of the Medical Clinic will not remain the same. However, clean drinking water should be provided, atleast one 1.5 liter bottle to each mother.

  • Reinforce policy regarding dispensing of soap in addition to medications. Soap MUST be provided to the patients, best dispensed as one bar of soap to each mother, written on the prescription. Soap is essential since:
    • Most of the diseases that we are treating at these camps are spread through lack of hygiene.
    • Prevention is better than cure.
  • Emphasize that the Medical Clinic should not function as a Drug Distribution Center.

Clinic should be a Treatment Center which means that you need to conduct a problem oriented history and examination, make a diagnosis and then prescribe medications together with counseling regarding hygiene and the correct way to take the medications prescribed.

  • Encouraging the team members to counsel patients at every opportunity regarding hygiene.
  • Discuss protocol regarding patient referral to a hospital.
  • Personal protection for the team members.
    • Mosquito repellants and spraying of clinic areas is the most practical intervention
    • Malaria prophylaxis with doxycycline 100mg PO once daily started 2 days before, during and for 4 weeks after working in the area (not in children <8 and pregnancy).  This will cover both vivax and falciparum but requires daily doses.

For vivax alone, chloroquine tablets are effective, 2 tabs of chloroquine phosphate 500mg (300mg base) once a week starting one week before travel, then during the stay and then continued for 4 weeks after return.

    • Masks to use when examining a coughing patient or one with measles.
    • Alcohol handrub with 70% alcohol, one bottle for each physician.
    • Soap and water for handwashing if soiling of hands occurs.
    • Disposable gloves.

Setting up the Clinics

a. Stationary Clinics

One can utilize an existing building or use tents.  The clinic will need:

  • Area for patient consultation and examination.  There should be a screen available that can be used for examinations that need to be conducted privately.
  • Pharmacy
  • Sick Room for patients to receive IV hydration, wound dressing, minor surgery.

b. Mobile Clinics

To maximize efficiency of the mobile clinics, essential steps to follow are:

  • Find an area, some distance from the center of the camp, where you can set down a few chairs for the doctors and patients, and folding tables.  If no shade available, keep a large umbrella in your mobile van. You can examine patients inside a large ambulance as well. Trying to create a level of comfort for the medical staff is important in maintaining efficiency.
  • Appoint one person for crowd control who can be firm and knows the language.  Allow one patient at a time.
  • Nurse should triage the patient, and make sure that the sickest patients are seen before the others.
  • Nurse should document the name, age, sex, and some vital signs (if indicated) on a pre-printed paper, which the patient then brings to the doctor.  Record the temperature if there is complain of fever.  Take the blood pressure if dehydrated or patient gives a history of hypertension.  Obtaining vital signs for all patients is not practical.  Weigh all children who appear to be less than 35kg.  Check blood sugar if patient gives a history of diabetes. The nurse should counsel patients regarding hygiene at every opportunity.  Document immunization and nutritional status of children if you are interested to collect this information.
  • Doctor should examine the patient, and then send him/her to the pharmacy with the prescription written on the paper that nurse has already filled with patient information.
  • Doctors must write the prescription clearly, giving exact dosages e.g the mg/kg strength of syrups, then the tsf required, in case of the pediatric patients, e.g  amoxicillin-clavulanate 156mg/5ml 1 tsf TDS for 5 days.  The dosing needs to be explained to the patient.  Hygiene should be discussed, even if it is briefly.

Promoting Efficiency of the Mobile Pharmacy

Crowd control is the first step to maintain efficient dispensing of drugs.

  • The back of the van/ambulance can be converted into the pharmacy.  It is helpful if the prescription is received at one window and medication dispensed from the next window on the side, rather than from an open van door.  The small windows allow lines to be formed and maintains order.
  • A volunteer who assists in receiving the prescription and finding the medications and handing them to the pharmacist is essential, since the biggest crowds gather at the pharmacy window, especially if more than 1 doctor is working at a time.
  • Medications should be stored in order and divided into labeled areas such as analgesics, antibiotics, GI drugs with ORS packets, cough and cold preparations, skin lotions and creams, vitamins and supplements.
  • Avoid syrups in your formulary since they are bulky and can get spoilt in the heat.  Only use syrups for very small children.  Cough syrups are rarely of much use and their stock should be limited.
  • It may be helpful to make pre-packaged doses in some cases e.g

Pregnancy Package

  • 1 bottle of Folic Acid of 100 tablets, 1 tablet daily
  • 60 ferrous tablets, 1 tablet BD
  • 1 pack of 30 multivitamins, 1 tablet daily

Adult GI Package in cases of bloody diarrhoea

  • Flagyl for 5 days
  • Ciproxin BD for 3 days

Analgesic packages of 10-12 paracetemol tabs

  • ORS should be prepared in clean water and provided to patients.  If that is not possible, give a bottle of clean water with sachet of ORS.If medication requires mixing with water, the pharmacist should mix the medication with the exact amount of clean water before dispensing it.
  • Make sure that we provide spoons or medication cups since it is pointless to direct a patient to take 1 tsf three times a day if they do not have a teaspoon.
  • For families who have more than 1 patient, pharmacy needs to keep paper bags for separate prescriptions, so that the family does not mix up the medications.


  • Prescriptions can be saved by the pharmacy for data collection.  On the other hand, it may be valuable for the patient to have a record of his treatment in case of follow-up visit by ourselves or from another medical team. If the patient is given the prescription to keep, patient data will need to be documented in a separate register.
  • Data collection is essential to gauge the needs of the camps and whether outbreaks are occurring.


by Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan

Drs. Naseem Salahuddin, Faisal Mahmood, Farheen Ali, Shehla Baqi, Faisal Sultan, Anita Zaidi, Asad Ali, Ejaz A. Khan, Altaf Ahmed, Fatima Noman

1. Hygiene and Clean Water

  • Soap for hand washing and bathing should be provided as a priority item, and personal hygiene stressed and practiced as much as possible.
  • Wash cloth
  • Write a prescription for soap for the mother of the family, one per family.
  • Purification of drinking water: Chlorination with PUR sachet is a cheap, effective and easily accessible way of purifying water, 1 sachet will disinfect 10 liters of water.
  • Provide 10 liter capacity bucket, a mug and 1 meter white mulmul cloth
  • Provide laundry soap

2. General Diarrhoea Treatment

  • Educate regarding rehydration
  • Continue breast-feeding for infants who are breast-fed
  • Regular ORS. Low osmolarity ORS such as pedialyte is not recommended as it may cause hyponatremia in cholera.
  • IV Fluids (0.9 NS and Ringer lactate drips) for severe dehydration.  If shock: 0.9%NS10ml/kg bolus then ringer lactate 90ml/kg over 4 hours (in children). If no shock, Ringers lactate 100ml/kg over 4 hours(in children)
  • Syrup zinc for 10 days in children under 5 years with diarrhoea
  • Anti diarrheal: not recommended because of risk of toxic mega-colon
  • Ciprofloxacin for bloody diarrhea when we are suspecting bacillary dysentery. It should also be given for severe acute watery diarrhea with dehydration where we may be dealing with cholera. Also give ciprofloxacin for child less than 6 months old with diarrhoea, fever and toxicity.
  • Give metronidazole if suspecting amoebic dysentery.
  • Do not use metronidazole and ciprofloxacin as general antidiarrhoeal drugs.

3.  Acute Respiratory Infections

Most acute respiratory infections are viral and self limiting and do not need antibiotic therapy. Supportive care may be given. If you suspect pneumonia then antibiotics must be given.

  1. Pneumonia in Adults: Levofloxacin
  2. Pneumonia in Children: Amoxicillin

4.  Eye Infections

Mostly secondary to viral infection, hence no specific treatment is required.

If symptoms persist more than 3 days or purulent discharge then use topical antibiotic eye drops such as:

  1. Chloramphenicol eye drops

In mobile clinics, and even in the stationary clinics, there may not be an opportunity to follow up the patient.  Therefore, in practice, it is best to give antibiotic eye drops in the first patient encounter, if there is conjunctivitis, although we suspect that it is probably viral in nature.

If symptoms persist for more than 2 wks, give oral erythromycin 12.5 mg/kg qid x 14 days for trachoma.

5. Vector Control

  1. Insect repellants may be used.
  2. Permethrin impregnated bed nets, if practical

6. Skin Infections

  • Scabies
    • Local application of Benzyl benzoate OR
    • Permethrin 5% cream.
    • Provide treatment for the entire family.
    • Council regarding washing of clothes and linen if conditions allow.
  • Impetigo, cellulitis, boils, folliculitis, furunclosis
    • Cloxacillin for 7 days or
    • Cephradine for 7 days or
    • Amoxicillin clavulanate for 7 days
    • Local antiseptics: Pyodine, Gentian violet
  • Tinea corporis
    • Clotrimazole cream
  • Tinea capitis
    • Topical treatment is ineffective.
    • Terbinafine tablets for 2-4 weeks. Impractical to treat in emergency conditions.
  • Eczema and lichen planus
    • steroid skin cream

7. Typhoid

  1. Cefixime PO for 10 days
  2. Typhoid (if not responding to cefixime) then IV Ceftriaxone

8. Meningitis

  1. Ceftriaxone IV

9. Malaria

  1. Artemether/lumefantrine : for suspected P falciparum or P vivax
  2. Chloroquine only if proven vivax species

10. Deworming

  1. Albendazole single dose or mebendazole for 3 days.

11. Tuberculosis

Patients already on anti TB treatment should be referred to TB Centers. New suspected cases of TB should be referred to tertiary care hospitals.

12. Snake bite

First Aid

R=Reassurance: 70% of snake bites are from non-venomous species.  Only 50% of venomous species actually envenomate
I=Immobilize in same way as a fractured limb using bandage or cloth.  Do not apply compression.
G.H= Get to Hospital Immediately
T=Tell the doctor of any symptoms

13. Vaccines

For pediatric age group: EPI vaccines should be continued, especially for measles.
For adults, no injectable vaccination  is recommended in the current phase of this emergency for the following reasons:

  1. Most vaccines require 2 or more injections to be effective. It would be logistically difficult to attain this goal
  2. It is not possible to maintain cold chain in flood affected areas
  3. Re-use of needles and syringes is likely to occur in majority of cases, further compounding the already high incidences of Hepatitis B and C

14. Personal Protection

Gloves and masks should be provided in large quantities. Hand hygiene between patients

15. Laboratory

Rapid malaria detection tests are easy to perform and cost effective for diagnosis of malaria and its species. A positive test will help rule out dengue and typhoid fever and allow proper malaria surveillance. This is the only test we recommend for the mobile clinics.

Table 1.  Indications and Uses of Drugs in Flood Relief

(Estimated quantities to stock for a single day at a camp serving 500 patients with varying diagnoses. However, the requirement for drugs can vary from camp to camp and from day to day)

Drug Indication Doses Quantity for a camp where 500 patients may be expected
Albendazole 400mg tablet Worm infestation 400mg single dose.  If less than 1 year, then 200mg single dose. 50 tabs
Amoxicillin 250mg and 500mg tablets and syrup 125mg/5ml

Syrup 250mg/5ml

Respiratory or otitis media in children only. However,

amoxicillin is the drug of choice for streptococcal sore throat in both children and adults.

2 months-12 months: 125mg three times a day

1 year to 5 years: 250mg three times a day

5 years to 14 years:

50mg/kg/day in 3 doses

Adult: 1.5gm/day in 3 divided doses

All for 7 days max

500 of 250mg tabs

500 of 500mg tabs

50 of 125mg syp

50 of 250mg syp


375mg (250mg Amoxicillin) tabs

625mg (500mg Amoxicillin)

Syrup 156mg/5ml (contains 125mg of amoxicillin)

Syrup 312.5mg (contains 250mg of amoxicillin)

Respiratory or ENT infection or bacterial skin infection Calculate according to the amoxicillin component same as above. 300 of 375mg tabs

300 of 625mg tabs

50 156mg syp

50 312.5mg syp

Artemether 20mg and Lumefantrine 120mg combination Malaria.  Use for children less than 35kg that are able to take tablets 5-14kg    1 tab BD  15-24kg 2 tabs BD

25-34kg 3 tabs BD

>35kg    4 tabs BD

All given for 3 days. (The second dose should be 8 hours after the first dose, then BD dosing on the second and third day.)

400 tabs
Artemether 40 and Lumefantrine 240mg (DS preparation) Malaria.  Use the DS preparation for all adults above 35kg >35kg 2 tabs BD for 3 days. (The second dose should be 8 hours after the first dose, then BD dosing on the second and third day.) 400 tabs
Drug Indication Doses Quantity for a camp where 500 patients may be expected
Artemether 15mg and Lumefantrine 90mg suspension Malaria. Use the suspension for children who cannot take tablets 4mg/kg/day of Artemether given as a single dose for 3 days e,g a 5 kg child requires 7ml once a day for 3 days 50 bottles
Chloroquine 150mg base (250mg tab) Vivax malaria Adult: 4 tabs stat, then 2 tabs 6 hours later, then 2 tabs once a day for 2nd and 3rd day.

Child: once daily for 2 days and 5mg/kg on 3rd day

100 tabs (stock more if the data shows that most cases are of vivax malaria)
Ceftriaxone Typhoid, meningitis 1gm twice a day.

2gm twice a day if meningitis

Child: 50-75mg/kg/24hours in 1-2 doses. 100mg/kg/day in 2 doses if meningitis

10 vials
Cefixime 400mg tabs

Cefixime syrup 200mg/5ml

Typhoid Adult: 400mg BD for 10 days

Child: 16mg/kg/day in a single dose for 10 days

200 tabs

20 bottles

Cephradine 500mg tabs

Cephradine syrup 250mg/5ml

Skin and soft tissue bacterial infections Adult: 250mg every 6 hours or 500mg every 12 hours

Children 25-50mg/kg/day in 2-3 doses

Give for 5-7 days

250 tabs

25 bottles


500mg tablets

250mg tablets

Syrup 125mg/5ml

Urinary tract infection

Bloody diarrhoea


Adult: 500mg BD for 5-7 days for UTI; 3 days for diarrhoea

Child: 20-30mg/kg/24 hours divided into 2 doses e.g 10kg child needs 1 tsf of 125mg/5ml BD for 3 days for diarrhoea

300 of 500mg tabs

200 of 250mg tabs

50 bottles of syrup

Cloxacillin 250mg tabs

Syrup 125mg/5ml

Skin bacterial infection Adults: 1-2 tablets every 6 hours for 5-7 days

Child:50-100mg/kg/day divided into 4 doses for 7 days

300 tabs

30 bottles

Drug Indication Doses Quantity for a camp where 500 patients may be expected
Cough syrup cough 1-2 tsf  three times a day 50
Domperidone 10mg tabs

Suspension 1mg/ml

Nausea and vomiting 1-2 tabs before meals and at bedtime

Child: 2-5-5ml/10kg

Max for 2 days

100 tabs

10 bottles

Ferrous sulfate tablets

Iron syrup

Anemia and antenatal care.  Include in pregnancy package. 1 tablet BD for 1 month 5-10,000 tabs

50 bottles of iron syrup

Folic acid 5mg

100 tabs in one bottle

Antenatal care.  Include in pregnancy package. 1 tablet daily 20 bottles of 100 tabs each
Hyoscine butylbromide Gastrointestinal and genitourinary spasms 1 tab three times a day.  Max 2 days treatment 50
Levofloxacin 750mg tabs Adult pneumonia 1 tab once a day for 5 days 40 tabs
Mebendazole Worm infestation, severe malnutrition 100mg twice daily for 3 days 200 tabs
Metronidazole 400mg tabs

Suspension 200mg/5ml

Amoebiasis, giardiasis Adult: 400mg three times per day for 5 days

Child: 30mg/kg/day once daily for 3 days for giardiasis.

45mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses for amoebiasis for 5 days

500 tabs

50 bottles

Multivitamins tablets 30 in one pack

Multivitamin syrup

50 packs of 30 tabs

50 syrups

Omeprazole 20mg capsules Once daily in the morning for maximum 7 days 210 capsules
Oral Rehydration Salts Prevention and treatment of dehydration 1 sachet in 1 liter of clean water: give 2 sachets per patient 500 sachets
Paracetemol 500mg tablets

Syrup 120mg/5ml

Fever and pain Adult 3gm daily in 3-4 divided doses

Child: 15mg/kg per dose not more than 4 times a day e.g 8kg child requires 1 tsf every 6 hours

1000 tabs

150 bottles

Drug Indication Doses Quantity for a camp where 500 patients may be expected
Pheniramine maleate tablets 25mg tabs


Allergic conditions Adult: 1 tab 2-3times a day

1-3 years ½ tsf

4-12 years 1 tsf

Three times a day.  Max for 3 days

100 tabs

25 bottles

Salbutomol 4mg tabs

Syrup 2mg/5ml

asthma Adult: 6-12mg/day in 3 divided doses

2-6 years ½-1 tsf

6-12 years 1 tsf

Three times a day for max 5 days

50 tabs

10 bottles

Sulfadiazine silver 1% cream Burns and infected leg ulcers Apply once daily and cover with sterile compresses 10 tubes
Zinc sulfate 20mg/5ml Diarrhoea in children<5 <6months 10mg, >6months 20mg once daily for 10 days 100 bottles
Benzyl benzoate 25% lotion Scabies After bath, apply from neck down.  Repeat application after 24hours for 3 consecutive days and then wash off the next day 100 bottles
Permethrim 5% cream Scabies Apply once from neck down and wash out after 12-24 hours. 1000 tubes
Calamine 15% lotion Itching skin conditions 2-4 applications per day 50
Gentian violet Antifungal and for oozing dermatosis 2 applicatiosn a day until lesions disappear 50
Pyodine 10% solution Antiseptic and disinfectant 20
Ringers lactate Severe dehydration <1yr: 30ml/hg first hour; 70ml/kg within 5 hours

>1 year: 30ml/kg in first 30 minutes; 70ml/kg in 3 hours

Tramadol hydrochloride, 50mg/ml, 2ml ampule Severe acute pain (fracture, trauma) Child >6m: 2mg/kg injection every 6 hours

Adult: 50-100mg injection every 6 hours, max 600mg/day

10 ampules
Drug Indication Doses Quantity for a camp where 500 patients may be expected
Atenolol 50mg tabs Uncontrolled hypertension 1 tablet once a day for max 7 days.  Refer to hospital for longterm care 50
Antisnake venom.  There are 2 preparations:

a. Liquid (NIH) more effective for Pakistan but requires cold chain and refrigeration

b. Lyophilized (Indian) in powder form, only keep cool

Snake bite if evidence of coagulopathy or neurotoxicity If type of snake not known, 8 vials of Indian or 4 vials of NIH can be used for initial dose.  Refer to hospital 4 vials NIH

8 vials Indian

Antirabies vaccine Dogbite Wash and flush wound with soap and clean water for 15 minutes and apply antiseptic.  Inject 1 dose of any cell culture vaccine IM into deltoid. Refer to hospital for further management. 2 doses
Diazepam 5mg/ml, 2ml ampule seizures Child 0.5mg/kg rectally or 0.2mg/kg by slow IV injection

Adult: 10mg rectally or by slow IV injection.

10 ampules
Dextrose, 10% Hypoglycemia due to severe dehydration 5ml/kg by very slow IV injection over 5 minutes or by infusion 2
SOAP (any brand) 1-2 for each family 300
Purification Tablets 2000



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3 responses to “Guidelines for Medical Clinics in Flood Affected Areas”

  1. mil@Dental Dallas Avatar

    Wow! This is a great information. Thanks for sharing this to us. I have seen lots of interesting and informative articles/post in here that makes me click that bookmark button. I will definitely back here to read more. Keep up the good work Mr. Teeth Maestro! 🙂

  2. Oklahoma City Dentis Avatar

    This is really a brilliant document.This will really be a helpful guide for us. I think it already tackles almost all important points during the situation. Thanks for sharing this to us!

    All the best!


    It was great to see the local and national mobilization to respond quickly to this type of emergency. But it is crucial that mental health care is integrated into the response early on to reduce the risk of other reactions such as post traumatic stress disorders at a later stage.

    Thanks!! @LISA WEST:)